How Black is Black "Enough"?


Black like Whom?

Scott L. Malcomson, writing in Sunday’s New York Times, declares that Barack Obama, the Democratic Senate nominee from Illinois, “is not black in the usual way.” To bolster his argument, he cited an article in the New Republic by Noam Scheiber, who voiced the opinion that Obama is “not stereotypically African-American.”

How is one black “in the usual way”? What does it mean to be “stereotypically African-American”?

…. not black in the usual way? Now, I’m not an African American woman – – but, rest assured, if I were – – I’d be sayin – “What the hell??” What is typical, usual and stereotypically African-American? How is one ‘black in the usual way’ ? Because he is intelligent, well-spoken, articulate and accomplished?? Because he is attracting positive media attention, rather than negative press? Because he’s not on your 11 O’clock news, featured in the latest drive-by?

Stereotypes persist, by in large, because the media propagates them into the minds of people.

Now, I’m no liberal and generally don’t go around defending them. Every once in awhile, however – some people just get underneath my skin. But then, I’m not republican in the ‘usual way’.

To me, Obama’s speech to the DNC rang some pretty conservative tones, if you ask me. In this article, the author does artfully sidestep and avoid the mentioning of the darling liberal “Uncle Toms”, as they have been called. No mention of Condi Rice, Clarence Thomas, Rodney Paige, Tom Sowell, Walter Williams or Larry Elder, for instance. They don’t speak the language of ebonics either. Funny, however – I have read the same type of argument from the left in regards to Condi and Colin – – except in reverse, that they aren’t “real African Americans”, so it’s ok for them to be in positions of power within a Republican administration.

The argument flows both ways. Will there come a day when a politician, or other public figure, can stand up – be heard in an intelligent, articulate fashion, and just be accepted based on their message, ideas and views? Does it need to be examined so harshly under the race light? Or the gender light?

Not black in the ‘usual way’. Can you imagine if someone said that a person is not white in the “usual way”. Or not female in the “usual way”. Maybe the author of this column just isn’t smart in the usual way.

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14 thoughts on “How Black is Black "Enough"?”

  1. Don’t get me started. I’m nice but I’m very UNpolitically correct.
    It bothers me to NO end to hear anyone say AfroAmerican… dude.. pick one.. you are either American or you’re not. It’s possible to have duel citizenship but you can’t tell me that all of these “AfroAmericans” came from Africa and now have American citizenships… Ok you might be of African descent but you are now American. And if anyone has a problem with this they better put a fucking block on ALL applicantions just for me that says American Indian, English, “Somewhere near Russia” American.. k thnx.
    And that goes for “Asian Americans too”

    And if I pissed you off then please take it up with me via email or my blog. (Even though I wont care)

  2. Can you imagine if a White person said that Obama wasn’t “black in the usual way.”

    Wow, I can only imagine the hell he’d catch for that. I don’t see why it’s ok for someone to make a derogatory remark like that just because he’s the same color or whatever.

    PS I’m IrishAmerican. 😛

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  4. What I meant when I said that is that I’m not willing to go around bashing every Democrat just because they aren’t Republican. 🙂 That’s not to say that every Republican does that – – but many that I know, do. 🙂

  5. No apologies needed, dee – – I can see the thought process on that one, and I can see where it would need to be clarified. 🙂

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  7. If you think the way you just wrote, how could you be a republican, when they are always racist in their policies and positions!! Female and Afro-American Republicans are sell outs to their sex and race. There are not very many women and black friendly bills being passed by republicans…

  8. BlackRepublicansSuck

    Black republicans are sell outs. women republicans are sell outs. anyone who says they are not is a sell out. one, why the hell would they join a political establishment that is trying to opress their peoples voices and choices? I am not saying that women and black should join the democrats because a black democrat and a woman democrat is just as bad if not worse than a black/woman republican.

  9. Despite the fact that I’m black in skin color, I’ve actually heard folks question my “blackness” simply because I wear heavy metal t-shirts and actually converse in English. Sometimes, I get the once-over by shady types in the neighborhood because they think I’m a “fed”. In reality, I’m just a computer science major that just happens to be living in a crappy NYC neighborhood. In a year, that’ll all change (at least for me). BTW, regardless of Ms. Rice and Mr. Powells “politics” give them their due, they are both intelligent black figureheads.

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